Voluntary Stewardship Program

Board Decision Letters

To better explain the decision by the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) to opt out of the State's Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP), the BoCC issued 2 letters:
  • Letter to Local Stakeholders
  • Letter to Governor
The next revision to the Critical Areas Ordinance regulations (JCC 18.22) is anticipated to be part of the 2016 Periodic Update and public participation will be welcomed and encouraged. The County will continue to monitor future VSP actions relevant to local agriculture and critical areas for possible inclusion in the Periodic Update.

Board Deliberations

The Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) was required to decide by January 22, 2012 whether to opt in or opt out of the Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP). The BoCC considered comments received during public input and evaluated the pros and cons of participating in the VSP. The BoCC deliberated on January 17, 2012 and chose to opt out of the VSP. The Board of County Commissioners is currently working on a letter describing the reasons for opting out. Refer to weekly Board agendas for details.

Public Comment Period & Hearing

How can Jefferson County best protect sensitive ecological resources and foster local agriculture? After four years of stakeholder discussions guided by the Ruckelshaus Center, state legislature passed ESHB 1886 to offer counties and landowners the option of using a VSP to maintain viability of agriculture lands while protecting critical areas, such as wetlands and streams. Jefferson County must decide whether to participate by January 2012.

The Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) sought public input in favor or opposition to County participation the State of Washington's VSP, including (1) whether to opt in or opt out of the VSP, (2) which watershed(s) to include if the County opts into the state program, and (3) which watershed or sub basin should be selected as a primary watershed if the County opts into the VSP.

The BoCC accepted public input during a comment period from August 24 until 4:30 pm on September 23, 2011. The comment period was noticed in the legal paper of record and an informational paper was provided to assist citizens in providing comments:
  • Legal Notice for Public Comment Period
  • VSP Informational Paper
The BoCC held a public hearing on Participation in the Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) Monday, September 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm at:
Jefferson County Superior Court Room
1820 Jefferson Street
Port Townsend, WA

Planning Commission Discussion of VSP

Additional materials related to the VSP can also be found on the Planning Commission webpage in the Periodic Assessment - Local Food Resiliency section.